The head of the UK’s Greek Orthodox Church has given his blessing and approval to St Andrew the Apostle School in Barnet.

His Eminence Archbishop Gregorios of Thyateira and Great Britain visited the school in North London Business Park last week (19 September) to perform the customary blessing for the new school year over the students, staff, governors and the building.

Speaking at Assembly, he explained that St Andrew was the first disciple to be chosen by Jesus and as the first students and teachers of a brand new school everyone should make the most of the opportunity. Quoting the Greek poet, Konstantinos Kavafis, he told them that life is a journey; the school year, friends, and studying are all part of that journey and wished them every success.

Prayers were said and students heard the story from St Luke’s Gospel of the young Jesus learning in the Temple in Jerusalem.

The Archbishop, accompanied by His Grace the Bishop of Tropaiou Athanasios and Archdeacon Meliton Oakes then blessed the rest of the school, visiting classrooms, meeting students and staff and taking a keen interest in all the brand new equipment and books being used.

He presented the school with an icon of Christ for the chapel and books and videos for the staff.

After his visit he stated: “I was impressed not only by the building but also by the enthusiasm of the Staff and the dedication of the pupils. So I have every expectation that the vision of those who have worked so hard for the realisation of the dream of a secondary school in North London with a Greek Orthodox ethos will be fulfilled and that the School will quickly establish a tradition of excellence and distinction for those for whom it has been established.

“We place the School in the protection and the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the blessings of Virgin Mary and Saint Andrew, whose apostolic name it bears.” he added.

Headteacher, Robert Ahearn, said the whole school was touched by the Archbishop’s visit. “This was an important and very moving event in the life of St Andrew the Apostle School and we are honoured to have the Archbishop’s blessing. His love, generosity and keen interest in all that we are doing has affected us all and we appreciate everything that he and the Archdiocese are doing to support the school.”

The following day, the school welcomed its local constituency MP, Theresa Villiers. During a tour of the school she was entertained by a lively music class, watched pupils building basic circuits in science, discovered the best ingredients for a delicious smoothie in food technology and visited a Maths class.

She also took the opportunity to chat with Mr Ahearn, school governors and a representative from the school’s sponsors, Russell Education Trust. Mr Ahearn explained that St Andrew the Apostle School was very much a team effort and that the staff had a very “can do attitude”, working hard and devising very imaginative and creative lessons.

Speaking after the visit Ms Villiers said: “It was great to see the new pupils really engaged in the classroom and enjoying their studies. I was impressed to hear about after school activities and initiatives like the Homework Club which ensures that all children have access to computers and individual support. It is proving very popular.

“St Andrew the Apostle is a very exciting addition to our schools in Barnet – and one that is determined to set the very highest academic standards. I am sure it will go from strength to strength in the years to come.”

Mr Ahearn said: ““The staff and students really appreciated Ms Villiers taking the time to visit St Andrew the Apostle School and seeing how much we’ve already achieved in our first few weeks of term.

“Her support has been invaluable and we look forward to future visits as the school develops.”

St Andrew' the Apostle school Blessing 26.09.2013



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